Allegations of child abuse or neglect present families with one of the most legally complex and emotionally difficult challenges imaginable. Regardless of how criminal authorities treat such allegations, the Department of Social Services (DSS) is required to conduct its own investigation and take its own actions. However, while law enforcement and DSS may take separate actions, they often work together and share information, which is one of the many reasons why it’s important for people facing such investigations to have the protection of counsel.
Parents and families often have little understanding of their statutory and constitutional rights in DSS investigations. They often believe, incorrectly, that they have no choice when DSS asks them to submit to intrusive actions, sometimes including the indefinite surrender of visitation rights. In fact, parents and families are entitled to representation of counsel in DSS investigations and, if they so decide, to seek judicial review of DSS actions by an independent judge.
Because allegations of abuse or neglect often involve parallel criminal proceedings and DSS proceedings, our practice has expanded over the years to serve our clients in both forums. We work with families, DSS representatives, law enforcement officials, judges, and our own investigators and experts to defend parents and protect family autonomy in all manner of abuse or neglect cases.